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Ravens News 5/4: Draft Steals and more

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 TCU at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Grading and ranking every 2021 NFL Draft class, from the Texans to Ravens - McDonald & Ruiz

1. Baltimore Ravens

I doubt I’d like this class as much if it were any other team, but some of these picks just make so much sense for how the Ravens play. Cleveland is a nasty, downhill blocker in the run game; Oweh is a physical freak off the edge who might need some schematic help to get to the QB; Wade is a tough defensive back who can be a valuable blitzer. The Bateman and Wallace picks make the receiving corps deeper and both were good values for where they were drafted.

Grade: A

Ranking NFL NFL Draft classes from 1 to 32 - Dane Brugler

13. Baltimore Ravens

Favorite pick: Odafe Oweh, edge, Penn State

The lack of production was an issue for some, but Oweh’s tape showed a player who consistently found the backfield and disrupted the rhythm of the offense. The Ravens have been one of the best organizations when it comes to drafting and developing pass rushers so it will be interesting to track Oweh’s rookie season.

Day 3 pick who could surprise: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

I find myself saying this every year, but good players seem to find the Ravens in each draft. And that was the case again this year with Wallace, falling a little further than expected (presumably due to concerns about his knee). He is physical to the football and consistently wins the catch point, which should translate to the NFL level.

Biggest 2021 NFL Draft Steals: All Seven Rounds - Anthony Treash

BALTIMORE RAVENS: WR RASHOD BATEMAN, MINNESOTA (PICK 27)

PFF Big Board Rank: 17

Lamar Jackson finally got his WR1 with Rashod Bateman, who really should have been the fourth wide receiver off the board. He should have been taken in the teens.

The new Ravens wideout may not be an all-around top-tier athlete, but he has route-running chops, release package and safe hands. He also offers a lot after the catch and has proven inside-outside versatility. Put simply, the Minnesota product has one of the highest floors in the entire class.

Bateman mainly worked on the outside in 2019 and generated 3.60 yards per route run on those reps, the fifth-most ever recorded by a Power Five wide receiver in our seven years of collecting college data. Bateman then transitioned to the slot for 2020. Despite catching COVID-19 and losing 10 pounds before the season, he was still uber-productive in his five games played, averaging 3.45 yards per route run and putting up an 81.9 PFF receiving grade.

Ranking the 10 best UDFA signings of the 2021 NFL Draft - Zach Tantillo

1. S AR’DARIUS WASHINGTON, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Ranked as the No. 57 overall prospect on PFF’s 2021 NFL Draft Big Board, Washington was the top player remaining when the seventh round concluded Saturday evening.

At 5-foot-8, 178 pounds, Washington is undersized for a safety, but that has yet to stop him from wreaking havoc in the secondary. He was PFF’s second-highest-graded safety in 2019 (91.7), with Mike Renner comping him to Super Bowl champion Tyrann Mathieu in PFF’s 2021 NFL Draft Guide.

Baltimore wasted no time signing the TCU product, adding him to an already elite Ravens secondary. His versatility should be a fine addition to Baltimore’s defense, as Washington played 100-plus snaps covering deep, in the box and the slot in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

NFL insider notes: AFC rivals haven’t closed gap on Chiefs, despite giving it their best shot this offseason - Jason La Canfora

If the Ravens can get past the Chiefs, it will require making Patrick Mahomes sweat, and the edge players atop their depth chart prior to the draft (Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson and Pernell McPhee) have combined for 52 career sacks, with 37 of them coming from McPhee, 32, a rotational player at this point. So it came as absolutely no surprise they took who they deemed to be the best pass rusher possible (Odafe Oweh) with the 31st pick they received as part of the Orlando Brown trade with the Chiefs. They were always going to use at least one of their top two picks on an edge rusher, no matter how the board fell; they don’t have the luxury to grab any player at any position with the way that roster is composed after sitting out any big money free agent signings yet again. The inherent bias of position need is baked into the board.

And the Chiefs, despite already signing guard Joe Thuney to a record-setting contract and giving up draft capital for Brown, with just two picks in the first 143 selections, still took an offensive lineman with one of those selections, center Creed Humphrey with the 63rd pick. They are clearly as serious as can be about protecting their franchise QB as he recovers from offseason surgery. Lack of draft picks made no difference, while Baltimore took offensive line with the 94th pick they got from K.C. (need-based to the core), and then traded down from the 136th overall pick from K.C. to eventually take defensive back Shaune Wade (you need all the corners and safeties to try to stop the Chiefs).